Senate leaders say they will take up trade bills

August 4, 2011 - 1:29 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) โ€” Senate leaders say they have agreed on a path forward for taking up and passing a displaced worker assistance bill that has been the obstacle toward a long-delayed vote on three pending free-trade agreements.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said, in a joint statement with Republican leader Mitch McConnell, that they had set up a course for passage of legislation to extend the Trade Adjustment Assistance program when Congress reconvenes in September, followed by votes to pass trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama.

McConnell said he was "eager to get moving" on the trade agreements, which were signed during the George W. Bush administration but have since stalled.

The Obama administration said it looked forward to working with Congress in September to win approval of the accords.